Monday, February 8, 2010

MoDOT Recovery Act Funds Obligated Ahead of Schedule

MoDOT meant business when it set out to show the world that transportation projects could have an immediate impact on creating jobs and boosting the economy. Before the ink was dry making the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act law, Missouri had signed a contract and began construction on the nation’s first stimulus project.

Keeping that momentum rolling, MoDOT has now obligated all of the $524.6 million it received in recovery act funds for MoDOT-administered projects well in advance of the March 2nd deadline.

“From launching the nation’s first transportation stimulus project to obligating all of our recovery act funds ahead of schedule, MoDOT has worked rapidly to show that transportation projects do play an integral role in supporting jobs and rebuilding our nation’s economy,” said MoDOT Director Pete Rahn. “While these funds don’t come close to covering all of our transportation needs, they have helped fill a short-term gap as other federal and state resources continue to decline.”

To date, the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission has awarded 187 economic stimulus projects totaling $469 million. The ARRA funding awarded to date will support 12,524 direct, indirect and induced jobs based on Federal Highway Administration estimates.

Under the Dome

I spent February 3 at the Missouri State Capitol. It was Transportation Day - a day when the leaders of MoDOT's regional districts and division leaders from headquarters make a special effort to visit with State senators and representatives.
I hung out in the Rotunda on the third floor, just outside the House of Representatives. Pretty rich surroundings for this office worker. Amid the marble, the columns, the bronze busts of honored Missourians and all manner of architectural wonder came Capitol visitors with comments and questions. Good comments and questions.
"I think the texting ban should extend to all ages." - Legislation to ban texting for ALL drivers was filed and is under consideration.
"What's with these train pictures?" - MoDOT administers the funding that makes AMTRAK possible in Missouri. The state legislature, federal lawmakers and administrators, Union Pacific Railroad and MoDOT worked as a team to jumpstart track improvements that have already improved on-time records for passenger rail service - and freight transportation time, too. More are on the way. The cooperative effort is a great success.
Between appointments, MoDOT leaders gathered to compare notes. They reported that legislators praised highway crews for valiant snow fighting efforts and asked questions about local projects and plans. They challenged the department to continue to squeeze the best value from every taxpayer dollar ... and to remain responsive to legislative ideas and requests.
The Capitol is a busy place of ideas, plans, action and opinions. Be sure to share your ideas and opinions on transportation and other topics with your elected officials - and with MoDOT, of course!